3D Red parachute carrying a purple gift box with CRM inside the box flying through the clouds.

In the world of business management software, we tend to use a lot of acronyms that we assume, sometimes incorrectly, that everybody knows. That really is rather presumptuous of us. So right at the start, let’s clarify a few of the acronyms that will appear in this article:

  • CRM = Customer Relationship Management
  • ERP = Enterprise Resource Planning
  • BI = Business Intelligence
  • IoT = Internet of Things

CRM software systems work best when they are fully integrated with your ERP system and when BI supports them. And the overarching benefit of a CRM system is the data that it collects and makes available to your Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service teams.

Having said that, we’re now ready to look at the three legs of the CRM tool: Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service.

Early CRM software applications offered nothing more than contact management. In other words, these early CRM solutions replaced your Rolodex. But I don’t want to minimize the impact of the demise of your Rolodex. It was revolutionary. Let’s go ahead and look at how that changed everything.

CRM for Sales

CRM for Sales brought your sales team into the 21st century. The contact information that used to exist on one person’s Rolodex now resides on their computers, where everyone on the team can readily access it. A prospect’s contact information can be amended and updated, and reviewed. Follow-up alerts can be scheduled with ease. You can even schedule recurring alerts so that no prospect falls between the cracks.

You’re not limited to the small space of a Rolodex card. You can add personal information about each prospect, such as a spouse’s name, children’s names, hobbies (such as golf), plus copious notes from your past conversations. This makes you sound like you remember everything that transpired on your last call, because you do, or your CRM does!

Furthermore, you can sort contacts in a variety of ways. For example, you can search by company name and find all of the contacts for that company, with their titles. You can also search by city or state. So, for example, if you’re going to visit one prospect in Ohio, you can make that trip more worthwhile by visiting one or more additional prospects in that vicinity.

CRM puts a treasure trove of information at your fingertips.

Quote: "CRM for Sales brought your sales team into the 21st century."

CRM for Marketing

Some companies recognize the importance of marketing more than others. In the second case, marketing is often seen as an expense that can be spared when budgets are tight. However, wouldn’t it be marvelous if, as a Marketing Director, you could prove the value of your campaigns and show the naysayers the statistics that demonstrate the fiscal success of your campaigns?

That’s what CRM for Marketing is all about. It’s about facts versus conjecture. It’s about reliable statistics that track opens and clicks, who clicked where, who subscribed to your offer, and who bought your products. It’s a bit “big brotherish,” but the upscale marketing capabilities in upscale CRM systems track everything you need to know about the campaigns launched through their platforms. You get incredible insights into your audience, open rates, click rates, shares, and more.

With CRM for Marketing, your marketing team can send qualified prospects to your sales team for timely follow-up.

Quote - "CRM for Marketing provides previously unavailable insights into the success rates of every campaign."

CRM for Customer Service

To understand the importance of customer service, most experts turn to the authoritative American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which publishes its scorecard by industry category. According to its founder, “In competitive markets, firms are rewarded for treating their customers well and punished for treating them badly.” ACSI also notes, “There is a straight line from customer satisfaction to corporate profitability and stock performance.”

One would therefore conclude that superior customer service is no longer a “nice to have,”; It is a “must have.” CRM for Customer Service provided the tools for superior customer service. When your customer service team picks up the phone to answer a call from your customers, these representatives must have everything they need to know about that customer at their fingertips.

They should immediately be able to pull up and view the customer’s order history and complaint history, along with basic information about the company – size, exact location(s), services, or products, and even some basic background such as date founded, recent developments, and the like. Your service reps should sound like they know your customers. With CRM for Service, they can sound like experts.

Quote - "CRM for Customer Service takes the service you provide to your customers to the next level."

In Summary

CRM Software also takes your entire company to the level with Business Intelligence (BI) because BI is embedded into your CRM applications – for sales, marketing, and customer service.

We should note that today, most upscale ERP systems come already fully integrated with CRM for sales, marketing, and customer service. A standalone CRM application that doesn’t communicate with your ERP software doesn’t make a lot of sense as it would bog your users down with duplicate data entry and create isolated islands of information.